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marmar

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Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 69,961

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It’s happening — oil and gas defaults are starting to hurt the rest of the credit market


(MarketWatch) The high default rate in the oil and gas sector after a long period of low oil prices is starting to hurt the broader high-yield market, according to a new report from Moody’s.

Until now, slow-but-positive U.S. growth has been a support for corporate cash flow and helped prevent commodity weakness from spreading to other sectors.

“But the commodity-driven climb in defaults is contributing to an increase in investor risk aversion and borrowing costs,” said analysts led by Moody’s Senior Vice President John Puchalla.

It’s a classic Catch 22 situation. Defaults are making investors nervous and that is making it more expensive for speculative-grade, or high-yield, companies to borrow short term to resolve liquidity issues. That’s because investors demand higher premiums for the extra risk they are taking on. And that in turn presents risks to the economy and makes if more likely the default risk will spread. ...........................(more)

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/its-happening-oil-and-gas-defaults-are-starting-to-hurt-the-rest-of-the-credit-market-2016-05-05




The coming debt bust


(The Economist) CHINA was right to turn on the credit taps to prop up growth after the global financial crisis. It was wrong not to turn them off again. The country’s debt has increased just as quickly over the past two years as in the two years after the 2008 crunch. Its debt-to-GDP ratio has soared from 150% to nearly 260% over a decade, the kind of surge that is usually followed by a financial bust or an abrupt slowdown.

China will not be an exception to that rule. Problem loans have doubled in two years and, officially, are already 5.5% of banks’ total lending. The reality is grimmer. Roughly two-fifths of new debt is swallowed by interest on existing loans; in 2014, 16% of the 1,000 biggest Chinese firms owed more in interest than they earned before tax. China requires more and more credit to generate less and less growth: it now takes nearly four yuan of new borrowing to generate one yuan of additional GDP, up from just over one yuan of credit before the financial crisis. With the government’s connivance, debt levels can probably keep climbing for a while, perhaps even for a few more years. But not for ever.

When the debt cycle turns, both asset prices and the real economy will be in for a shock. That won’t be fun for anyone. It is true that China has been fastidious in capping its external liabilities (it is a net creditor). Its dangers are home-made. But the damage from a big Chinese credit blow-up would still be immense. China is the world’s second-biggest economy; its banking sector is the biggest, with assets equivalent to 40% of global GDP. Its stockmarkets, even after last year’s crash, are together worth $6 trillion, second only to America’s. And its bond market, at $7.5 trillion, is the world’s third-biggest and growing fast. A mere 2% devaluation of the yuan last summer sent global stockmarkets crashing; a bigger bust would do far worse. A mild economic slowdown caused trouble for commodity exporters around the world; a hard landing would be painful for all those who benefit from Chinese demand.

Brace, brace

Optimists have drawn comfort from two ideas. First, over three-plus decades of reform, China’s officials have consistently shown that once they identified problems, they had the will and skill to fix them. Second, control of the financial system—the state owns the major banks and most of their biggest debtors—gave them time to clean things up.

Both these sources of comfort are fading away. This is a government not so much guiding events as struggling to keep up with them. In the past year alone, China has spent nearly $200 billion to prop up the stockmarket; $65 billion of bank loans have gone bad; financial frauds have cost investors at least $20 billion; and $600 billion of capital has left the country. To help pump up growth, officials have inflated a property bubble. Debt is still expanding twice as fast as the economy. ..............(more)

http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21698240-it-question-when-not-if-real-trouble-will-hit-china-coming-debt-bust




Noam Chomsky: Young Bernie Sanders Supporters are a "Mobilized Force That Could Change the Country"




Published on Apr 28, 2016

http://democracynow.org - During an event Tuesday at the Brooklyn Public Library, Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned political dissident, linguist, author and professor, was asked about Bernie Sanders’ run for the White House. "He’s considered radical and extremist, which is a pretty interesting characterization, because he’s basically a mainstream New Deal Democrat," Chomsky said. "His positions would not have surprised President Eisenhower, who said, in fact, that anyone who does not accept New Deal programs doesn’t belong in the American political system. That’s now considered very radical." Chomsky concluded by noting that Sanders "has mobilized a large number of young people, these young people who are saying, 'Look, we’re not going to consent anymore.' And if that turns into a continuing, organized, mobilized force, that could change the country—maybe not for this election, but in the longer term."



The Great American Credit Collapse


The Great American Credit Collapse
By Bill Bonner, Chairman Bonner and Partners:


Please remember this warning when you go to the ATM to get cash — and there is none.

While we were thinking about what was really going on with today’s strange new money system, a startling thought occurred to us. Our financial system could take a surprising and catastrophic twist that almost nobody imagines, let alone anticipates.

.....(snip).....

There’s Not Enough Physical Money

Here’s how… and why:

It’s almost seems impossible. Hard to imagine. Difficult to understand. But if you look at M2 money supply – which measures coins and notes in circulation as well as bank deposits and money market accounts – America’s money stock amounted to $12.6 trillion as of last month.

But there was just $1.4 trillion of physical currency in circulation – about only half of which is in the US. (Nobody knows for sure.)

What we use as money today is mostly credit. It exists as zeros and ones in electronic bank accounts. We never see it. Touch it. Feel it. Count it out. Or lose it behind seat cushions.

.....(snip).....

At some point, a debt correction is inevitable. Debt expansions are always – always – followed by debt contractions. There is no other way. Debt cannot increase forever.

And when it happens, ZIRP and QE will not be enough to reverse the process, because they are already running at open throttle. ...........(more)

http://wolfstreet.com/2016/05/05/credit-collapse-dollar-panic/




Keiser Report: 'I'm from Goldman Sachs, and I’m here to help'





A Nation in the Grip of Greed


from In These Times:


A Nation in the Grip of Greed
Rana Foroohar’s “Makers and Takers” breaks down crisis-prone U.S. economy

BY Chris Lehmann


Casual browsers might mistake Rana Foroohar’s Makers and Takers for a Tea Party manifesto. The phrase is most famously identified with House Speaker Paul Ryan, who warned in 2010 that “takers”—i.e., people who receive more in federal benefits than they pay in taxes—were poised to become the majority of Americans, eclipsing the “makers”—the business owners and financiers who create hardy economic value.

But Foroohar, an economics columnist for Time and analyst for CNN, inverts Ryan’s callow sloganeering to devastating effect. Makers and Takers is a closely argued, richly reported anatomy of the sluggish, unequal and crisis-prone state of the U.S. economy under the dictates of financialization—the tax giveaways, financial-sector deregulation, securitized debt, etc., that are celebrated by figures such as Ryan.

Take, for example, the fanciful pretext for Ryan’s remarks: the well-worn lament that to even slightly increase regulations is to browbeat would-be job creators into a state of paralysis. In truth, Foroohar notes, “there isn’t a shred of evidence to suggest that lowering taxes on the rich makes them any more or less likely to invest or start businesses.”

Indeed, citing a 2015 report from the Office of Financial Research, Foroohar notes that since the great crucible of the 2008 meltdown, corporate earnings “are rising” even as “sales growth for most public U.S. companies is not.” Astonishingly, as Democrats and Republicans alike have nonsensically preached austerity to the nation at large, the investor class—the real layabout “takers”—has sunk into an ocean of red ink, with corporate debt ballooning from $5.7 trillion in 2006 to $7.4 trillion today. Most of this dosh is repackaged into exotic new financial instruments designed to maximize short-term shareholder returns. In the 1970s, American companies invested more than 15 times what they paid out to shareholders; now that ratio is below 2 to 1. ................(more)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/19017/in-the-grip-of-greed



The Inside Story of How Bill Clinton Sacrificed Prisoners’ Rights for Political Gain


(The Intercept) On the eve of the New York state primary last month, as Hillary Clinton came closer to the Democratic nomination, Vice President Joe Biden went on TV and defended her husband’s 1994 crime bill. Asked in an interview if he felt shame for his role passing a law that has been the subject of so much recent criticism, Biden answered, “Not at all,” and boasted of its successes — among them putting “100,000 cops on the street.” His remarks sparked a new round of debate over the legacy of the crime bill, which has haunted Clinton ever since she hit the campaign trail with a vow to “end the era of mass incarceration.”

A few days later, on April 24, a lesser-known crime law quietly turned 20. The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 — or AEDPA — was signed by Bill Clinton in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing. While it has been mostly absent from the recent debates over the crime policies of the ’90s, its impact has been no less profound, particularly when it comes to a bedrock constitutional principle: habeas corpus, or the right of people in prison to challenge their detention. For 20 years, AEDPA has shut the courthouse door on prisoners trying to prove they were wrongfully convicted. Americans are mostly unaware of this legacy, even as we know more than ever about wrongful convictions. Barry Scheck, co-founder and head of the Innocence Project, calls AEDPA “a disaster” and “a major roadblock since its passage.” Many would like to see it repealed.

If the Clintons have not been forced to defend AEDPA, it’s partly because neither the law nor its shared history with the crime bill is well understood. AEDPA’s dizzying provisions — from harsh immigration policies to toughened federal sentencing — were certainly a hasty response to terrorism. But the law was also the product of an administration that long before the Oklahoma attack had abandoned its party’s core principles on criminal justice, deciding instead to wield crime policy as political weapon. After the Republicans seized control of Congress in the historic 1994 midterm elections, the Clinton White House sought to double down on its law-and-order image in advance of the 1996 presidential race. In the short term, it was a winning political strategy for Clinton. In the long term, it would help pave the way to one of the worst laws of his presidency.

The story that sets the stage for AEDPA can be partly told through White House memos from the time, a trove of which were released in 2014. Buried among hundreds of thousands of digital records housed in the Clinton Digital Library are previously confidential documents that shine light on Clinton’s criminal justice strategies in the mid-90s, yet have been largely overlooked.

One memo reveals a White House weighing its options in the weeks after the “Republican Revolution.” Dated November 22, 1994, it was written by top Department of Justice lawyer Ron Klain, who sent it to his boss as well as members of President Clinton’s inner circle, including Bruce Reed (the operative behind the famed pledge to “end welfare as we know it”) and senior White House adviser Rahm Emanuel. The memo was titled “Crime Bill ‘Redux.’” ..................(more)

https://theintercept.com/2016/05/04/the-untold-story-of-bill-clintons-other-crime-bill/




Economist Paul Craig Roberts: Greece Must Leave the Eurozone to Regain Its Sovereignty


Economist Paul Craig Roberts: Greece Must Leave the Eurozone to Regain Its Sovereignty

Wednesday, 04 May 2016 00:00
By Michael Nevradakis, Truthout | Interview


In Greece, the Syriza-led coalition government is now set to agree to new rounds of cuts and privatizations demanded by the country's lenders. Prior to its initial election in January 2015, Syriza had promised to abolish the country's loan agreements and austerity policies. Now, unemployment remains at record levels, and the young and educated continue to leave the country, while recent large-scale privatizations such as the sell-off of the port of Piraeus have been pushed through.

Paul Craig Roberts, a former undersecretary of the US Treasury and former Wall Street Journal editor, agreed to share his thoughts on the recent developments in Greece. The author of over a dozen books and numerous journal articles, Roberts regularly analyzes global economic conditions and geopolitics in his writing. In this interview, which has been lightly edited, he discusses how countries are indebted and forced to accept austerity, as well as current US economic conditions and the presidential election.

Michael Nevradakis: You have written that Greece is under foreign occupation. Explain why you believe this is the case.

Paul Craig Roberts: Greece is being looted like a colony of the private banks, which is what it is. Previous Greek governments accepted bribes to indebt Greece to private banks. For example, someone would come from Germany and say, "Let us make you this nice loan so you can buy German submarines, and here's a bag full of money for agreeing." This is the way much of the Greek debt was built up.

Normally in the past, when governments had excessive debt that they couldn't service, the debt was written down to an amount that could be serviced. For example, when Mexico couldn't pay in the 1980s, the debt was written down, and the US government came up with Brady bonds, which was a way of writing down the debt. But now that looting is completely unleashed; the rule is that if a government can't pay, the people have to pay, and the way they have to pay is to accept cuts in their pensions, cuts in employment, lower wages, cuts in social services. And they have to sell off their municipal water companies, their ports, the state lottery. This money is then used to pay the private bankers that lent the governments money that did not really benefit the people very much, but benefited the foreign recipients of the loans.

This is a looting process; it's the way that the colonialists looted the colonies in Africa and Asia, and now what we see is that the West is looting itself, and this all happens because the people accept it. Even when they protest, they don't go far enough. We have here a situation where the Greek people don't even understand what they have to do to save themselves and to be independent ... (They accept) EU domination, which means you have no national sovereignty. If you're a member of the EU and you use the euro, you have no financial independence. ..............(more)

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/35883-economist-paul-craig-roberts-greece-must-leave-the-eurozone-to-regain-its-sovereignty




San Francisco: $260 Million Bailout Approved for Transbay Transit Center


from the SF Examiner:



San Francisco approved a $260 million bailout of the major Transbay transportation and development project Tuesday after multiple errors have sent costs soaring to nearly double the initial estimate.

The multibillion-dollar project’s bailout, which was introduced by Mayor Ed Lee, was approved by the Board of Supervisors in a 10-1 vote.

Board members have expressed concerns about the cost escalations, but say the project is too important not to assist with funding to ensure its completion. The board vote authorizes the issuance of certificates of participation debt which would be paid back through the capture of property taxes within the Transbay area.

Since 2008, the project costs have increased by about 90 percent, from $1.189 billion to $2.259 billion. The latest shortfall estimate shows $260 million is needed to complete Phase 1 of the project by December 2017.

Tied to the rebuild of the Transbay Terminal, which is hailed as the “Grand Central Station of the West,” is the redevelopment of 40 acres within the area bounded by Mission, Main, Second and Folsom streets. ...................(more)

http://www.sfexaminer.com/260m-bailout-approved-transbay-transit-center-2/


The Great American Credit Collapse


The Great American Credit Collapse
By Bill Bonner, Chairman Bonner and Partners:


Please remember this warning when you go to the ATM to get cash — and there is none.

While we were thinking about what was really going on with today’s strange new money system, a startling thought occurred to us. Our financial system could take a surprising and catastrophic twist that almost nobody imagines, let alone anticipates.

.....(snip).....

There’s Not Enough Physical Money

Here’s how… and why:

It’s almost seems impossible. Hard to imagine. Difficult to understand. But if you look at M2 money supply – which measures coins and notes in circulation as well as bank deposits and money market accounts – America’s money stock amounted to $12.6 trillion as of last month.

But there was just $1.4 trillion of physical currency in circulation – about only half of which is in the US. (Nobody knows for sure.)

What we use as money today is mostly credit. It exists as zeros and ones in electronic bank accounts. We never see it. Touch it. Feel it. Count it out. Or lose it behind seat cushions.

.....(snip).....

At some point, a debt correction is inevitable. Debt expansions are always – always – followed by debt contractions. There is no other way. Debt cannot increase forever.

And when it happens, ZIRP and QE will not be enough to reverse the process, because they are already running at open throttle. ...........(more)

http://wolfstreet.com/2016/05/05/credit-collapse-dollar-panic/




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